Salad Challenge!

Three Christmases in three cities. Three weeks, five beds, twenty people to buy small and large gifts for. Two turkey dinners, three Sviat Vechir (Ukrainian Christmas Eve) feasts. One tasting menu, one high tea (thanks, Blue Eyed Stranger!).

My shortbread, my mother’s rugaleh, Marika’s pampushky (sweet yeast buns with plum jam), Lida’s star-shaped cookies, The Anti-Poverty Organizers’s ginger cake with poached pears. A cheese fondue, a chocolate fondue. The Swimmer’s excellent appetizers, The Feminist Lawyer’s cream of spinach soup with Stilton. The Bird Watcher’s homemade baguette. Chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate.

I’m borrowing a page from The Vintage Queen, who has decided, in her lovely blog Proper Tension, to choose a different activity every month to do for thirty days.

I’ve been in a salad rut for awhile. Piles of greens, walnuts, and what ever fruit is lying around. Not bad, but salad can be so much more.

Thus the 30-day salad challenge was born.

I’m inspired by Mark Bittman’s (The Minimalist) 101 simple salads list, as well as by a newly acquired cookbook, Feast of Greens, and all of the ideas people are giving me.

Three days in, here’s where I’ve been:

Day 1: Steam a chopped up head of broccoli. Cool in ice water, then toss with 1-2 cloves crushed garlic, 2 tablespoons balsamic, 5 tablespoons olive oil. Add in a few slivered sundried tomatoes and some pine nuts or slivered almonds. (adapted from Field of Greens). Banal, comforting, healthful.

Day 2: Grate carrots, toast some sunflower seeds, and toss with blueberries, olive oil, lemon juice and plenty of black pepper. Sweet, sour, crunchy, soft. (Mark Bittman). This one’s a keeper – but it doesn’t keep. Eat it all in one serving.

Day 3: (I ate this, but didn’t make it. Does that count?) Fruit compote, a salad of reconstituted apricots, prunes, apples, pears, in a simple syrup spiced with cinnamon. A Ukrainian Christmas Eve tradition.

What salads are you eating in this month of resolutions, detox, renewal, and new beginnings?


  1. When I lived in S’toon, my friend Carla used to make fabulous sushi salads–basically sushi ingredients tossed into a bowl of sushi rice. If you google ‘sushi salad’ tons of recipes come up, and there’s one called a California roll salad. Good potluck food too.

  2. What a great idea! Your carrot blueberry salad reminds me that we haven’t had beet salad in ages. And speaking of beets, this is a great reminder for us to try Laura Calder’s Endive Salad with Beets, Walnuts and Blue Cheese.

    You also might like to try the orange fennel salad we had at Christmas. It’s wonderfully refreshing.

    (orange fennel salad recipe:
    beet salad recipe:
    beet, endive walnut salad recipe:

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